A word with the President

New UHHSA President shares his hopes for the upcoming year

Editor in Chief Nick Carrion

Photograph by Nick Carrion

Vester "Boomer" Robester

College can be a tricky time in a student’s life. They’re getting their first taste of independence, while at the same time making monumental decisions about their career paths. Many organizations exist on campus to help make this experience a pleasant one here at UH Hilo, including the University of Hawaii at Hilo Student Association (UHHSA).

With a fresh year comes a fresh face, as Vester Robester officially steps into his role as the newly elected president of UHHSA. After serving as a senator-at-large last year, he describes what prompted him to seek his position.

“I joined the exec team last year, and it was a lot of learning as I go. But at the end of last year there weren’t many people returning, so I decided to return. I’ve been in many different seats. I know what it’s like to be a senator, and what it’s like to be a student. But then I realized the most change you can make - if you want to make good, positive change, you have to make it from the place that has the most influence.

And so as much as I wanted to do things last year, and get involved, sometimes there’s only so much you can do in your position. This year, my main goal – the president’s goal isn’t really just to make these decisions, but it is to empower other senators to make those decisions. So my goal this year is to have the senators feel empowered to be the hands and feet of UHHSA.”

Robester, who prefers to go by Boomer, says his focus this year will be to “create and maintain a line of communication with students.”

“The very first thing you’ll see in a few weeks will be a survey going around campus trying to acquire as much input as we can, as well as student involvement,” he says.

As excited as Boomer and all of UHHSA is for the coming year, he says there are lessons to be learned from the past as well. He says he hopes to make some changes from previous administrations. “First would be more awareness. Awareness for senators, and for students, of what UHHSA’s supposed to be doing.”

He continues, “For last year’s senators it was a lot of learning as you go.This year our goal is to start off knowing as much as we can before doing anything else, as opposed to learning as we go. So right now we’re doing a lot of training in the first month.”

As UH Hilo’s student government, UHHSA holds a unique position in campus life. They decide policies that affect all students, and conduct outreach to connect Vulcan’s to their administration. With a president who’s new to the job, but experienced in the democratic process that UHHSA employs, all eyes are on UHHSA to fulfill their goals and make this a great year for students.